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To The Editor:

Stanley Gersbein (It’s Only My Opinion), in your column of August 8, every person you mentioned was referred to as “that” as in “very sorry for those that” or “some of them are part timers that.”

But somehow Sam, the only dog mentioned, was referred to as “who.”

This is totally backwards. I say a person is a “who.” A non-person is a “that.”

Wally Arrington

Park Slope

Stanley Gershbein responds:

You are absolutely correct. My apologies. Now I’ll let you in on a little secret. Many years ago, when I first started writing I was given a bit of advice – write the way you speak. Leave out all the large phrases and slogans that are used to impress the reader. I did just that and quite a bit of my freelance efforts were published – even with all the errors I noticed afterward. Almost 20 years ago I applied for a job with this chain of papers. I didn’t tell the editor that I had a science background and other than in high school, I never took an English speech or writing course. I was a fraud then and I guess I still am.

Most readers would have taken the time to call me names. Thanks for being a nice person. Again – my apologies. I’ll try to do better.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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